Lightning’s big second period leads to win

by Gary Shelton on November 10, 2017 · 4 comments

in general

Peter Budaj won his first game of the season./Steven Muncie

Peter Budaj won his first game of the season./Steven Muncie

Friday, 2:30 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, it seems, are just too hot for California to hold.

The Bolts won its second impressive game in two nights Thursday, beating the also-hot Los Angeles Kings, 5-2. Tampa Bay had entered the game 12-2-2, and the Kings were 11-2-2.

This one, however, was no contest. The Lightning poured in four goals in a 122 seconds of the second period, with Nikita Kucherov,

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Kucherov scored yet again for Lightning ./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov scored yet again for Lightning ./CARMEN MANDATO

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos all scoring. Vald Namestnikov later added the team's fifth goal.

“To be able to take four points with basically a little over 24 hours against two really good teams, as a coach, you’re really happy," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But you’ve got to look at, yeah, we’re scoring goals, but how we’re playing defensively. In the end, we gave up three goals in two games against some really good teams. It’s not as fun, but it makes you happy.”

Peter Budaj picked up his first win in goal for the Lightning, stopping 22 of 24 shots. The Bolts got off 43 shots. Buddy made an excellent save on Anze Kopitar's shot, which led to Kucherov's first gaol.

“Who knows how this is going to go, but that’s the game-changer for us," Cooper said. "He makes that save on Kopitar. We lost our coverage, and that’s a big-time shot by a big-time player. I don’t know, maybe (Budaj) had a little inside information from last year. And then the skill guys took over right after that. Kuch makes it 1-0. So you could see their guys are up on the bench on the shot and then down after the breakaway. And then that next two-and-a-half minutes, the boys were flying and it’s tough to come back after that.”

For Kucherov, it was his 16th goal of the season.

Stamkos added a goal and an assist and brought his league-leading point total to 30.

The Bolts let off the gas a bit in the third period, but held on for the win.

“There’s so much game left, and so, the players sitting at the bench, they’re feeling it," Cooper said. "‘Let’s go.’  As a coach, you just keep looking at the clock, hoping it’s the third period, not the first. But I’ll be honest, I really liked the way we came out in the second. We had a really strong second period, and I thought Quick made some huge saves, especially on the power play and he kept them in it.

"And then all of a sudden now, they get one and almost get two. We catch a break with the goalie interference, so who knows how it could have gone? I have to give Quick a lot of credit. He was strong, kept them in. And then the third, it was back and forth and they had their chances and then it was our guy that played extremely well. So just really happy for (Budaj).”

The Lightning travels to Anaheim on Sunday with the game time at 8 p.m.

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